Get a gluten-free cheesecake crust that’s also dairy-free, vegan, raw, no bake – and comes together with a food processor and five minutes!
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If you love cheesecake and also follow a gluten-free diet, you may be looking for a gluten-free cheesecake crust that works well for making your favorite dessert.
Most cheesecake recipes require you to bake and use a water bath to make cheesecake, but the gluten-free cheesecake recipe that I use involves no baking at all. It’s considered a “raw dessert,” because all the ingredients are raw and there is no cooking or baking involved all the way through – including the crust.
While most traditional cheesecake crusts are made using graham crackers or cookies, I like to take a different approach and go for a more natural and healthy route.
In place of graham crackers, I like to use naturally gluten-free ingredients that come together to make a delicious and easy crust that requires no baking. A combination of nuts, dates, coconut oil, cinnamon, and salt come together in just a few minutes to make a delicious base for your cheesecake.
Believe it or not, you can get a gluten-free cheesecake that tastes just like the real thing without any gluten, dairy, or eggs – and it’s really really good! Even my family who eats all these foods still enjoy it!
In this post, we’re going to talk about gluten-free cheesecake crust, why I don’t use gluten-free graham cracker crusts, how to make a gluten-free cheesecake crust step-by-step, and answer some questions about how this recipe comes together.
Why not use a gluten-free graham cracker crust?
There are a few reasons why I choose to use a combination of nuts and dates over a graham cracker crust in my gluten-free cheesecake crust. The main reason is accessibility.
Finding and buying gluten-free graham crackers is not an easy task. There are a few great gluten-free graham cracker brands available on the market, but they aren’t easy for me to find locally. In fact, I’ve never once seen any gluten-free graham crackers in person anywhere in my county!
The second reason I opt for a mixture of nuts and dates for my gluten-free cheesecake crust is price. Even if I were able to find gluten-free graham crackers locally, they are on the pricey side, costing at least two dollars more than the regular version.
Nuts aren’t cheap by any stretch, but with the amount that I use, I feel like I’m getting more “bang for my buck” nutritionally spending the money on healthy whole ingredients versus cookies.
I know I could easily make my own gluten-free graham crackers, then use these as a base for my gluten-free cheesecake crust, but if I’m being honest – I’m too lazy for that kind of effort.
Nutrient-dense naturally gluten-free cheesecake crust
When I make dessert, I almost always try to find a way to make it even a little bit healthier. You can see evidence of that in my gluten-free chocolate chip cookies and gluten-free peanut butter cookies.
The cheesecake recipe that I use leverages healthy ingredients that are naturally gluten-free and easy to come by, like cashews and coconut milk.
Nuts are a healthy source of vitamins, healthy fats, and also provide protein and fiber. If I can get that from eating a piece of cheesecake, I’m in!
Ingredients for gluten-free cheesecake crust
This recipe is considered “raw,” because it uses raw ingredients and requires no baking. This is what you’ll need for your healthy homemade gluten-free cheesecake crust.
Pecans and almonds
I use a combination of pecans and almonds in this recipe to give a nutty and full flavor to the cheesecake crust. You can swap out these nuts for others that you have on hand or those that you prefer the flavor of more if you like.
I liked how these two ingredients worked together to hold up the cheesecake, but also provided a nutty flavor against the cheesecake filling I used.
Almond flour is used in this recipe to “fill in the cracks” of the cheesecake crust. Crusts that are made with only nuts and other natural ingredients sometimes don’t bind well together, because they haven’t been processed into small enough pieces in the food processor.
I like to use almond flour to fill in those gaps between the nut meal from the pecans and almonds. The almond flour also helps “soak up” the coconut oil and creates a crust with just the right consistency to press into the springform pan.
Read on: Is almond flour gluten-free?
Dates are added to this gluten-free cheesecake crust to add some sweetness, and also to help bind the pecans, almonds, and almond flour together. The gummy texture of dates lends itself to making the crust ingredients stick together and easy to press into the pan.
Cinnamon adds a little extra flavor to the gluten-free cheesecake crust. This ingredient is optional, but I find it adds some extra “homemade” flavor to the crust that otherwise might be missing.
Melted coconut oil is used in this recipe to help bind the rest of the ingredients together. When warmed, coconut oil is a liquid, but when it is introduced to colder temperatures, it solidifies.
This recipe is made using melted coconut oil, then later is frozen so it solidifies, creating a hard crust that requires no time in the oven.
Salt is added to play off the sweetness of the dates in the crust, but also in the cheesecake filling as well. It’s a counter-flavor to offset the sweet ingredients.
How to make gluten-free cheesecake crust step-by-step
This gluten-free cheesecake crust is made by combining raw pecans and almonds, almond flour, dates, and coconut oil in a food processor or high speed blender.
Pulse the pecans and almonds
First, you’ll add the raw pecans and almonds to the food processor and pulse until you reach a mealy consistency.
Add remaining ingredients
Next, add the almond flour, dates, and coconut oil and pulse again, until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
Press into springform pan
Once your gluten-free cheesecake crust is made, press it into a parchment paper lined 8-inch springform pan. Use your fingers to press it into a firm crust around the bottom and all the way to the edges of the pan to make an even layer.
Freeze then fill
Place the pan in the freezer until you’re ready to add your filling. Fill with your favorite gluten-free no bake filling and chill until set.
Does this cheesecake crust need to be baked before filling?
Nope! In fact, you’ll want to do the opposite. This recipe requires you to blend all the ingredients in a food processor. Next, you press it into a pan and freeze it before filling it with your raw cheesecake filling.
The melted coconut oil in the recipe will solidify and harden as it cools down and gets cold, creating a hard crust that you’d expect from cheesecake without any baking required.
Is cheesecake gluten-free?
For normal cheesecake recipes, the crust is often made using graham cracker crumbs which usually contain gluten. This would make the crust of the cheesecake not safe for a gluten-free diet, but the filling would be safe to eat.
In the case of this gluten-free cheesecake crust recipe, all the ingredients are naturally gluten-free, and safe for a gluten-free diet.
As long as you use gluten-free ingredients in the filling of your cheesecake along with this gluten-free cheesecake crust, your cheesecake will be a great choice for sticking with your gluten-free diet.
Is this gluten-free cheesecake crust recipe dairy-free?
Yes, with no animal milk in the recipe, you can feel good about using this crust for your dairy-free diet.
Is this gluten-free cheesecake crust recipe vegan?
Yes, this cheesecake crust is naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and vegan. There are no animal products used in this recipe, so it is a great option for vegans and non-vegans alike.
Can I make a gluten-free graham cracker crust?
Absolutely! If you prefer to make a graham cracker crust for your cheesecake, be sure to use gluten-free graham crackers from the store or homemade.
You can follow any traditional graham cracker crust recipe for cheesecake you find on the internet to make this, using butter or vegan butter, sugar, and gluten-free graham crackers. This recipe won’t work with gluten-free graham crackers.
- ¼ cup pecans
- ¼ cup almonds
- ½ cup almond flour
- 2 dates, pitted
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- Pinch of salt
- Add the raw cashews for the filling to a bowl and cover them in water. Set aside for 4 hours or overnight to let them soften. It's best to let them sit overnight, so they create a smooth filling.
- Prepare your springform pan by lining it with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Start making the crust by adding the crust ingredients to the food processor or high speed blender, and pulse until a meal forms.
- Transfer the crust mixture to the prepared parchment paper-lined springform pan. Use your fingers to press it into a firm crust around the bottom and all the way to the edges of the pan to make an even layer. Place the pan in the freezer until you're ready to add your filling.
This is a raw cheesecake crust - do not put it in the oven or bake it. It's meant to be made and eaten cold or room temperature.
If you love cheesecake and have been looking for an option for a gluten-free cheesecake crust, I hope you enjoy this no-bake crust that’s great with all types of raw cheesecake fillings.
Remember this isn’t a recipe that requires baking, so please don’t use it in the oven or with fillings that require baking.